A few years ago, you may remember, our truck burned to the ground. We never figured out why it caught fire. All we know is that we had driven it earlier in the day, we sat down for dinner that evening, and within the span of a few minutes, the truck went from a drivable vehicle to a charred carcase. Memorable moment!
During that fire, the heat became so intense that it melted our neighbors siding and cracked a couple of the windows of our house. Our neighbor's insurance took care of the damages to her home. Our insurance would have replaced the broken windows in our home, but the deductible was so high that we decided we would live with the cracks. After all, we had to fork out thousands of dollars for a new vehicle. We simply didn't have the money to deal with the windows too.
As the months passed, I quickly forgot about the cracked glass. From time to time I would notice the damaged surfaces, but overall, it was no longer important. As far as I was concerned, it was just another battle scar that gave our old house character. (And let me tell you, our house has a lot of character.)
Last week, a severe storm tore through our neighborhood. The rain pelted against the house, and the wind whipped the trees in every direction. In fact, the wind was blowing so hard that it was blowing the rain sideways to where the water puddled on our side step and ran in under the door. It was intense! And in the midst of that intensity, I heard the shatter and tinkling of crashing glass. Yep, you guessed it. The combination of the wind and rain had turned the cracked window into a broken window, which lay in varied-size pieces in the yard and on the door step. Once we discovered the source of the sound, one word found its way out of my mouth: "Seriously!"
It had already been one of those weeks. First the trailer fiasco, then two days of a migraine, then the mortgage company decided to adjust our monthly payment. . .again (and not for the better). Oh, and the kitchen light decided to go all wonky where only one bulb worked unless you stood on one foot and cocked your head at a twenty-degree angle to the left. (Well, not quite, but you get the point!) Was that not enough for one week? Did we really need one more thing to go wrong? And in that moment, I knew exactly how that piece of glass felt.
I was broken. I was shattered. Though cracked from previous trials, I had held firm for as long as I could. But one storm too many had left me scattered in pieces on the ground. It was the last straw. I had had enough, and frankly, I was tired of playing this game. Everything felt like a cruel joke and, though I knew better, I imagined God, seated on His throne and laughing at my ridiculous predicament. In the darkness of the storm (both physical and spiritual), I felt completely forsaken.
By the next morning, though the storm outside had dissipated, the one inside me was billowing at full force. I felt angry and confused, frustrated and overwhelmed, broken and helpless. And then I read these words: "It's not wrong to ask why, but don't stake your happiness or your faithfulness on getting a satisfactory answer."
Isn't that exactly what I was doing? I was frustrated, angry and uncooperative because God was not explaining His actions to me. I wanted to know what He was doing. I wanted to know why He was piling up the trials. I wanted to see the end result of the suffering. But God was silent, and the silence infuriated me. I didn't want quiet; I wanted answers, and furthermore, I felt that I deserved them. In my despondency, I felt that God owed me an explanation.
But the truth is that He doesn't owe me anything. I know that now, and actually, I knew it then too. Funny how quickly what we feel can make us forget what we know. Romans 8:28 says that we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, but last week, I didn't feel like things were working together for good. In contrast, it felt like everything was working against me. And the more I dwelt on those feelings, the deeper I sank into the pit of self-pity. If only I had dwelt on God's promises instead, I could have saved myself a lot of turmoil.
I don't share this story with you so that you will pity me. In fact, as I've already stated, I didn't want to share this story at all. But I choose to believe that someone needed to read this today. Someone today is feeling just like that piece of glass--broken, shattered, unable to withstand another storm. To that person, I attest that God is faithful. Even when times are bad, God is still good. He is not laughing at our plight but rather catching our every tear. And while it may seem like all evidence points to the contrary, God is working all things for our good. Yes, we may be battered and scarred, but God excels at putting the pieces together again, and the end result will be more glorious than we could have ever imagined.
Don't fight it any longer. Simply place your broken pieces in the hands of the Master and allow Him to finish His perfect work in you.
The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands. - Psalm 138:8